Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two for two

Prior to yesterday, the last time I fell off a horse was probably three years ago, when Baby Huey spooked at some ducks during a trail ride. That time I landed on my feet. Yesterday the fall from Clair wasn't bad at all. Today I made it two for two by getting bucked off Dakota. This time a trip to urgent care was the outcome.

Dakota is a sweetheart. He has never bucked, bolted, kicked, or bitten. He always tries hard. Today the barn owner B and I set out for a trail ride. We had just turned toward the driveway when I remembered I wanted to take my phone. I turned Dakota back toward the arena, where my phone was sitting on a shelf mounted to the arena railing. My car was also parked there, and to get to the phone we needed to maneuver between the car and the railing. There was about an eight foot gap, tight but not crazy tight. Dakota didn't want to squeeze in there. I was being pretty patient, just gently urging him forward, when in a flash he had a full-on panic attack. He sat back on his haunches, whirled 180 degrees, and started bucking as hard as he could, which is hard. I think I stuck it for two jumps and then I was off to the left. It was all so out of character for him!

I landed on my left forearm and hip. I really smacked into the ground, but i just felt sore when I stood up. I got back on Mr. D, and we continued our trail ride. He was a bit unsettled for the first ten minutes, but then he was fine. i felt fine myself. I spent the afternoon helping my husband install windows. I was a little gimpy on my left leg but still feeling pretty ok. By five o'clock, though, my left wrist was starting to really hurt and swell up. It was also making a weird clicking noise when I rotated it. I'm headed out of town tomorrow on a business trip, and I wanted to have it checked before I left, so off to urgent care we went. They x-rayed my wrist and hip. No obvious fractures but they want a radiologist to doublecheck the images tomorrow. I don't get on the plane until late afternoon.

Impressive hematoma, no?

B has a theory that maybe the tight space triggered a bad memory for Dakota -- maybe the stocks when he was at BLM? She said he looked terrified. I tend to agree that it was some kind of triggered trauma, because it was completely unlike him. We'll get back to it on Saturday and leave all this bad luck behind! (And after two smacks, I need to buy a new helmet!)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Keep your weight to the inside

The last few times I've ridden Clair, I've noticed that the saddle has shifted to the left a bit upon mounting. For some reason, the fact that this kept happening didn't really penetrate my brain. Today it happened again, enough so that I had to dismount, reposition the saddle, tighten, and remount. Still, I wasn't thinking much of it. After about fifteen minutes of a lovely schooling session, I was working a fifteen-meter canter circle left. I thought to myself, hey, your weight is shifted to the outside. Fix it. I tried and suddenly realized the whole saddle and both pads had actually shifted to the outside, and the centrifugal force was too much for me to overcome. We were coming up to the round-pole railing, which I really didn't want to fall on, so I launched myself over it and out into the grass. Clair Mare, bless her heart, cantered one more stride, stopped, and started grazing under the rail. I landed on my left shoulder and smacked my helmet-clad head pretty hard, but other than seeing a few stars I was fine. The saddle and pads were 2/3 under Clair, but she didn't care at all. I slipped my hand under the girth to see how loose it was, and it really wasn't loose at all -- it was still quite snug. So now I'm wondering -- is Clair puffing up while I tack up (when she has never done that before) or is this saddle just not fitting right? Clair and I both really like it, but if it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit.

I got back on and did W-T-C both directions. I was very careful to keep my weight to the inside! It's pretty embarrassing to allow such an avoidable accident. Clair was a little hesitant about left-lead canter ("Mom, are you sure? Last time you went flying."), but quickly went right back to work. Such a good pony!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recent Clair Mare video

Clair Mare and I have to get ready for a clinic -- Suzanne May is coming to town November 14-16! I would like to be able to show off most of second level if possible.

Here's video from Sunday. My main self-criticism is my loose, busy legs. Clair is a peach as always. I'm starting to get better about feeling when she goes behind the vertical and gently correcting.